As Korea again regularly hits the headlines we examine the history of the brutal North/South conflict.
The Korean War was a war of firsts: The first jet war; the first war where it was not possible to unleash full power, politically or militarily and the first battlefield of the Cold War. Lasting three years, it took more than 2,000,000 military and civilian lives in its bloody wake. Setting all the rules for East/West conflict during the nuclear age brought an unknowing world closer to an all-out atomic war than has ever been told. Historians, battle veterans and archival footage reveal the pain, glory and pathos of the war.
The Making of a Blood Bath:
On June 25, 1950 North Korea surged across its southern border, catching South Korea and its allies off guard. U.S. and United Nations forces acted swiftly, but faced the likelihood of a humiliating evacuation. Triumph to Tragedy:
With U.N. forces on the verge of defeat, Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur masterminded a brilliant landing at Inchon. The onslaught of hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops forced the Americans to make a desperate retreat.Retreat from Hell:
As American forces were nearly overrun, they engaged in the largest retreat in U.S. history. By December of 1950, the Communists recaptured Pyongyang. In January, Seoul fell as both sides dug in at the 38th Parallel.
American casualties mounted, as did the pressure to end the war. Truman replaced MacArthur with General Matthew Ridgeway, who retook Seoul. U.S. policy shifted from liberation to containment until the armistice of July 1953. Technically, North and South Korea were still at war.
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